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The definite prohibition which Congress inserted in 29 U.S.C.S. § 159(b)(1) can not be overridden in the view that Congress intended it to be ignored. As the prohibition was appropriate to the aim of Congress, and is capable of enforcement, the conclusion must be that enforcement was contemplated.
Without taking the vote of professional employees required by 9(b)(1) of the amended National Labor Relations Act (which provided that the National Labor Relations Board, in determining the unit appropriate for purposes of collective bargaining, shall not decide that any unit was appropriate if the unit included both professional and nonprofessional employees unless a majority of the professional employees vote for inclusion in the unit), the board issued an order certifying as appropriate an employees' unit which contained both professional and nonprofessional employees. Thereafter the president of the professional employees' association, acting in his individual and representative capacities, brought an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to set aside the order. The District Court granted the relief sought, finding that the Board had disobeyed the express command of § 9 (b)(1) in including nonprofessional employees and professional employees in the same unit without the latter's consent, and in doing so had acted in excess of its powers to the injury of the professional employees, and that the court had jurisdiction to grant the relief prayed. The district court’s judgment was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Court of Appeals rejected the board's argument that the District Court lacked jurisdiction of the action.
The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court and held that the Board committed an unlawful action that inflicted an injury upon respondent. According to the Court, 9(b)(1) of the amended National Labor Relations Act was clear and mandatory. By certifying as appropriate an employees' unit which contained both professional and nonprofessional employees, the Board deprived the professional employees of a "right" assured to them by Congress. According to the Court, it cannot lightly infer that Congress did not intend judicial protection of rights it conferred against agency action taken in excess of delegated powers. Anent the second issue, the Court held that the district court had jurisdiction, under the National Labor Relations Act (Act), 29 U.S.C.S. § 159(b)(1), over an original suit to vacate a determination made by the Board. Apart from the review provisions of the Act, respondent was afforded a remedy. In addition, the Court did not make a review of the Board's determination, but struck down an order of the Board made in excess of its delegated powers and contrary to a specific prohibition in the Act.